Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. — George Santayana, 1863-1952
We’re not fanatics here at Scholars & Rogues. As our founder, Sam Smith, writes today on our 10th anniversary, our unruly mob of scholars and rogues believes in a “fierce commitment to confronting challenging questions facing ourselves, our society and our communities.”
Many, if not most, of those challenges arrive at our digital doorstep because those who are fanatics have lost both their aim and their minds. We, as do you, routinely witness assaults on common sense, on dignity, on respect, and on intelligent public discourse.
We’ve tried to be more than mere witnesses here. When we’ve seen stupidity, we’ve shouted, sometimes whispered, “Hey! That’s not right. Don’t do that.”
But that’s not enough. To again paraphrase my favorite fictional president, Andrew Shepard, those who have lost their way or their minds on an issue do two things and two things only: Telling you to be afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it.
Like them, we at S&R are to glad to do that, too. But we don’t stop there. Concerned whether President Donald is a fascist? Others called him one but didn’t back up the claim. Brian Angliss wrote an eight-part series explaining what fascism is, how it came to be, and why President Donald is a fascist. S&R was only two years old when Gavin Chait foresaw the influence of the blogosphere on the rise of fascism and extremism in Europe.
Think the Bill of Rights isn’t all it ought to be? Four years ago, based largely on extensive discussions, research, and his well-informed predilections, Sam Smith wrote a new American constitution.
For years my colleague Jim Booth has helped our readers understand literature and what it means to be a writer. Each week, for years, he shared his thoughts on what he’s been reading and its place in the literary firmament. At the moment, you’ll find him digging deeply into the Beatles’ song catalog.
S&R has been here to help our readers think again, and anew, about the social, cultural, political, economic, and artistic worlds around them. We’ve done it with climate disruption, the nation’s failed infrastructure, nuclear proliferation, and changes in the news industry. S&R has tackled gerrymandering, congressional wealth, and the pros and cons of capitalism. S&R has even settled the question of what’s the best rock band ever.
We’re not fanatics here, because we haven’t forgotten our aim: Think — it ain’t illegal yet. Stick around, folks. We’re not done yet.
I’m bookmarking this for the next time I begin to question the value of what I’m doing.